This week the EPA finalized increases in renewable fuel volume requirements across all categories of biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard program. Under the revised rule, total renewable fuel volumes grow 6% or 1.2 billion gallons from 2016 to 2017. For ethanol specifically, the statutory level is now 15 billion gallons.
“Renewable fuel volumes continue to increase across the board compared to 2016 levels,” said Janet McCabe, the EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “These final standards will boost production, providing for ambitious yet achievable growth of biofuels in the transportation sector. By implementing the program enacted by Congress, we are expanding the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing our reliance on imported oil.”
According to Bob Dinneen president and CEO of the Renewable Fuel Association, the change made by the EPA is a win for ethanol production and infrastructure.
“I think it sends exactly the right signal that the EPA is behind [the ethanol] program,” he told AgriTalk host Mike Adams. “It sends a signal that the industry can move forward with confidence.”
Dinneen says in the past EPA was sending a signal that they would let oil companies determine how much ethanol would be used instead of following what Congress determined.
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) also praised the news, saying the EPA “finally listened to the American people,” to adjust the volumes.
“[EPA] set the final volume requirements for conventional biofuels for 2017 at appropriate and congressionally approved levels,” she says.
The National Corn Growers Association says the increased volumes will help farmers and consumers alike.
“This is critical for farmers facing difficult economic times, as well as for consumers who care about clean air, affordable fuel choices, and lowering our dependence on foreign oil,” says Wesley Spurlock, a Texas farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association. “Although we believe the EPA did not have authority to reduce the ethanol numbers in the first place, we are pleased to see the RVO finally back on track.”